There have been numerous car pooling services launched over the last few years and while most of them focused on B2C segement, Bangalore based ZingHopper is taking a corporate route (to start off). The service also lets you sell *empty* seats during the ride , though with an added layer of (social) security and safety.
You can join a ride or offer a ride and fellow passengers will use ZingHopper’s messaging system to communicate with each other (without revealing any contact information) ensuring that the system is safe for all. All contact between drivers and passengers are handled on the site before a booking request has been accepted in order to maintain everybody’s safety and privacy. After a reservation is booked on the site, ZingHopper releases the personal contact information of driver and passenger to each other.
Here is a QnA with Arunprasad Durairaj, cofounder of ZingHopper:
1. There have been so many attempts at ride sharing – and very few of them have succeeded. What do you think Zinghopper brings to the table (which others do not).
Ridesharing is a no-brainer solution to increasing fuel costs, car maintenance costs and traffic congestion. As such, there are several companies that have attempted carpooling. But a vast majority has been unsuccessful. We realized that carpooling per se is not a bad idea. However, the past implementations have not taken into consideration some of the unique challenges to carpooling solution in India.
Security is hands down the foremost and formidable challenge. Almost everyone we surveyed indicated this factor as a deal-breaker. Obviously, people are not very comfortable traveling with someone they do not know about. So, we decided to make “zero compromise” when it comes to security.
There several world class security tools we’ve built into Zinghopper.
1. Users need to login with facebook to be able to use the system.
2. To be able to post a ride or book a ride, users have to confirm their corporate affiliation with a simple email verification.
3. Optionally, users can connect to other social platforms such as Linkedin and Twitter to increase their credibility on the system.
4. User can review and rate their fellow users after they complete a ride.
We know that we may have fewer conversions because of such required verifications. But, we believe that the quality of users is as important if not more as quantity of users on a carpooling website. So, we decided to restrict it to a self-selecting community of ridesharers that value Zinghopper’s security features.
2. Target segment?
We are targeting corporate community to begin with because they are the ones that experience the most painful commute schedule. For security reasons, Zinghopper is accessible only to employees of a vast list of organizations that we’ve already shortlisted and verified. Currently we are in talks with top IT firms in India to roll out Zinghopper for their employees. These companies believe that commute is a major pain point for their employees and are thrilled about the potential of using Zinghopper for their internal carpooling needs.
3. Business model? More B2B focused?
Zinghopper is designed to be a marketplace for ridesharing. Drivers with empty car seats can sell the seats to passengers looking for a ride to the same destination. We are attempting to pilot both B2B & B2C through various channels.
– License our platform for corporations in India that need carpool portals
– Subscription/usage based pricing for customers.
4. Future plans?
We are in the process of developing an app with more exciting & sophisticated features for ridesharing.
Usage of social media for verifying accounts? Well, except Linkedin, a lot of corporate users may not have Facebook/Twitter accounts (before you comment, read this: Of KBC & The “Islandish” Problem With Indian IT Industry) – but what’s important about Zinghopper is that the company is enabling others to monetize the rides as well. This could lead to even creation of ‘ride marketplace’, with drivers/riders certified by ZingHopper.
What’s your take on ZingHopper approach to carpooling?